We're living in some deeply weird times, which are presenting some unique challenges, none more
Passion & Affect
Laurie Colwin, author of two beloved food literature/ cookbook tomes, plus several novels and collections of short stories, is-hands-down- one of my all-time favorite writers. Her food writing makes me voraciously hungry, and inspires me to try nearly every recipe immediately. Her short stories (my favorite collection: Passion and Affect) are like little jewels; her novels are impossible to put down and have been the impetus for more than a few sleepless nights. She has a rare command of the English language, and her writing touches something in my soul.
She is also deceased, taken from her family and from the literary world far too soon. I first encountered Colwin through her food writing, but was soon on a mission to read everything she had ever written. When I discovered she had died so young, it felt like I had lost a fascinating new friend who had nonetheless understood me implicitly. Colwin wrote with such insight and passion that you felt an immediate bond with her characters and their fates. Passion and Affect indeed.
Recently, I attended an Oregon winemaker’s event, an enormous tasting of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and other wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and beyond. The tasting was preceded by a panel discussion, where representatives from several of the wineries each spoke on a topic of their choice and then fielded questions from their colleagues and the audience.
One spoke about new research relating to organic viticulture, another about the importance of and differences between soil types.Yet another related anecdotes about her family’s history in the Willamette Valley, and how things had (and had not) changed in the last 40-odd years. They all spoke passionately, clearly very absorbed in the art and science that is wine. The audience, similarly absorbed, was rapt.
The next winemaker to speak was…different. He chose technology as his topic, and delivered a virtual monologue about all the labor-saving (and thus money-saving) advances of the last few years. He spoke not a word about improvements in quality, focusing almost exclusively on the financial angle. Heads started to nod, mine included. I thought, ‘Good grief, this man is boring me to death while talking about Oregon Pinot-a subject I love. He spoke on and on, but just seemed to lack passion for his subject. And without the passion, there was little, if any, affect.
Can you taste passion? Who knows? But although I found several gems at that tasting, the wines of the ‘boring’ winemaker were not among them. In everything you do, passion matters. This week and always, may you lead a passionate, exciting, and delicious life.